Taking God’s Responsibility

Taking God's Responsibility

I don’t know if it’s being a woman, whether you are in ministry or not, we have tendencies to feel responsible for things that are not our responsibility. When I attend homeschool conferences, a common saying is that “Homeschool moms go to bed at night worrying about whether they are doing enough to help make their kids successful for life.” I feel like that about marriage, ministry, parenting, finances, and friendships, A LOT. I understand the character trait of responsibility is very important, but how many of our burdens come from taking responsibility away from our husbands (as head of the home) or away from God(as the Shepherd of our souls)?

We feel responsible for people when they do not get saved.

We feel responsible for staffing ministries when at times people are not even growing in the Lord and ready for the responsibilities we try to plug them into.

We feel responsible when our children do not get saved at a young age even though we are teaching them regularly about salvation.

We feel responsible when people do not respond the way we think they should.

We feel responsible for making people happy all the time when the reality is, it’s their choice whether they want to be happy or not.

Let’s stop feeling responsible for every little thing in life, because God has bigger plans! Things are going to change, people are going to be and do whatever they want to be. God may not be working things out in your “favor” because He has an alternative plan.

On the morning we were set to leave on our vacation I lost it. You know, one of those, “I can’t handle this,” losing it scenarios. The previous two weeks before our vacation had been jam-packed and honestly, it was just too much for me even with my husband there bearing the load too. We got out on the road two hours later than we planned because we had so many loose ends to tie up before we headed out-of-town. The pressure was bearing down on my soul.

Some of the things that came out of my mouth were:

  • It is my responsibility to make sure that everything goes right on this trip.
  • If I don’t have things ready in the car for the kids to do then it will be my fault if they get bored and are unhappy.
  • If things had been different, then I could have gotten everything taken care of ahead of time.
  • If I don’t get the snacks and lunch ready in the cooler then you (husband) will feel like you have to spend money. It is my responsibility to make sure our spending money lasts.
  • I wish we had not done ______________ so that I could have gotten these things done.

Hours later in the car, after finally feeling a little more free from the burdens I placed on my shoulders, God began convicting me. He reminded me that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45). I was trying to take everything out of God’s hands and was making everything personal. It wasn’t just that I had an “I” attitude, but it was bearing the weight of the situation as if everyone’s happiness was dependent upon me and what I did or did not do. We do not have the ability to make people be happy in life. That was not my responsibility. I “know” that but my heart was not remembering at the time because my fear of disappointing people was in the way.

God also prodded me about not putting Him in the equation of our lives first. In those extremely stressful moments, I could not get past my feelings or my thoughts. They were holding me back from the truth of God’s Word that my husband had even taught about in our Sunday School Class the day before. The lesson was titled, How To Deal With Stress. That is sort of ironic, isn’t it? Or does God know our future ahead of time and give us what we need to be able to deal with the circumstances that come along? I failed His test.

Two major things were wrong in those heavily self-burdening moments.

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Farmer loading hay bales onto a trailer.

1. I was not casting my cares upon the Lord. Christ calls us to exchange our burdens for His, because they are light. I Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” I love how this verse describes giving our cares to the Lord as “casting” them upon Him, it’s like how you see farmers loading heavy hay bales into the back of a large trailer and driving away with the load. We have this promise that He will take these burdens of life and sins by taking care of them for us. Why? Because He cares for us. When we are struggling with stress one of the biggest things we believe is that we are alone and no one cares. We have a promise that God does care, ALWAYS!

2. I did not consider my stress to not trust the Lord as a sin, that had a temptation that I fell for. If you don’t understand, then I will say it like this: In temptation of any sin, God promises in I Corinthians 10:13, that He will always make a way of escape to those who are His children. He provides the way to escape, we just have to look for it and use that escape route. When I committed the sin of worry and distrust toward the Lord, then there was a way of escape from my wrong thoughts and fears somewhere along the way. The escape should have been taken to keep me from a heart filled with worry that burst forth with those things that came out of my mouth the morning of our vacation.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13

Conclusion

Take the time when you feel like your eyeballs are going to explode because you cannot possibly handle one more stress or frustration, sit down and start casting every. single. thing. over to the Lord. Then, take the responsibility off of yourself. Things that you cannot handle, like the timing of situations, responses, spiritual matters, etc. should be cast where they belong on the Lord. Talk to God first when you start to notice those things are bothering you, don’t wait until the load is too great. That is why we need to pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17).

It is a little hilarious that as I was scrolling through Facebook the night this all occurred and saw a saying that said, “Give it to God, and go to sleep.” That’s basically it in a nutshell. Don’t take responsibility for everything, give it to God, and go to sleep.

I pray that next time I will not take on God’s responsibilities, and I will trust better than I did that day. There are times you just never know the things in your heart until they come out of your mouth. So listen for the things in your heart as you speak and ask the Lord to help you recognize the way of escape when you are burdened down and prone to worry. He’s there and He will take that load!

 

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Tackling Depression Heart On

Christians face depression, just like other people out in the world. One of the best things we can do is face the lies that are told to us while we are depressed and use God’s strength to tackle depression heart on. The reason why I say “heart” on is because out of the heart are the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23). Our thoughts are not from our head, they are from our heart. We are taught from the Bible that words and actions originate from the heart (Matthew 5:18,19). To tackle depression, we need to tackle the heart of the issue.

Depression is nothing new to me, my first problems with depression surfaced in my high school years every September. It began with being involved in a relationship that I should not have been in, and the result of my having to break up with my boyfriend. The next year it was something else, then it was the transition to Bible College, then a bad break-up with a scary boyfriend, the cycle continued yearly. I dealt with Postpartum Depression after our sons were born and it took almost a year to be able to adjust to life. In those low situations, I became the prime target of Satan’s lies and pinned down by them. Depression just held me like a straightjacket, making me unable to deal with life for weeks and months at a time.

Tackling Depression

Lies spoken in our hearts from Satan during depression:
1. Do not ask for help.
2. You are the only person around you going through this.
3. You need something bigger than you to help you.
4. You are worthless.
5. You should end your life.
6. Run away, it will be easier.
7. People do not notice because they do not love you.
8. Stay away from people.
9. You are not saved.
10. God is silent to you because you are in sin.

It would be easy for me to take each of those lies and turn them around in a positive self-help sort of way and make you feel like you should be stronger than you are in these vulnerable moments. But my hope is to help you use the Word of God to be able to fight against the lies of the devil.

Truth For Tackling Depression Heart On…

1. Ask for help. Talk to your spouse and family about how you feel. Go to your doctor, some depression is caused by medical conditions. Ask others for prayer, read James 5:13-16 where you see that prayer for others makes a difference.

2. You are not the only person going through depression. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 1:9, there is nothing new under the sun. If there is nothing new under the sun, then the Lord has been helping people with depression for thousands of years. Read about how God ministered to Elijah in I Kings 19.

3. You do need something bigger than you to help you – not drugs or worldly substitutes but God. …The things which are impossible with men are possible with God. Luke 18:27

4. You are priceless, because God loves you. We love him because he first loved us. I John 4:19 He values you enough to allow His Son to die on the cross for your sins. You’ve probably heard it said, if you were the only person on this earth, Jesus would have still come to die for you because He loves you. He knows the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30) and keeps the tears of his children in a bottle (Psalm 56:8) because you are priceless to Him.

5. God always values life and even though you may be in a low moment, your life was created for a purpose. There are better days ahead. Do not make a permanent decision to end your life for a temporary problem. These words were given to the children of Israel and I believe they speak about the value of life. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:  That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days…” Deuteronomy 30:19,20

6. Running to God is the only answer for the temptation to run away from problems. This is another situation in which you should not make a permanent decision for a temporary problem. God created the family unit to be dependent upon each other, your family needs you more than you realize, even if you are in a funk. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. Psalm 46:4,5

7. There are people in this world that love you. People may not notice your struggle with depression because they are selfish or they do not know how to cope with your depression themselves, not because they do not love you. There is always a handful of people in your life that love you so much that they would go out of their way to be able to help you. Reach out to one of them you trust and share your feelings.

8. Get around people and make a choice to minister to them. Depression and even grief may keep you out of the action of the game of life for a while, but it should not keep you out of the stands of life. It is okay to be a bystander temporarily, but at some point you should focus on maintaining relationships and caring for other people.  When you are depressed often you dwell a lot on yourself, being around others allows you the opportunity to meet the needs of people around you. Mark 10:45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

9. Are you saved? The Bible says we need to work out our own salvation in fear in trembling (Philippians 2:12). Not everyone that names the name of Christ is a true believer on Him. In the day of judgment there will be people that God says, “Depart from me, I never knew you…”(Matthew 7:22,23) Depression can be an indicator of the spirit within you recognizing the void you have being separated from God.

Sin in our lives separates us from God, when we are unsuccessful through good works to appease God then the void of not having a complete sense of being is magnified. Many people try to find substitutes to fill the void they are sensing which can lead to depression and addictions. When the substitutes still leave a void of emptiness then increased depression or the next steps of higher or greater addictions will begin to be used to replace it. If the person does not realize the peace of God through salvation, then they may plunge deeper or have prolonged depression that begins to effect the entire body.

I like to explain it like this. Savior means rescuer. We need someone to rescue us from our sins because we cannot save ourselves. Salvation is a complete belief that Jesus was that Savior. He died on the cross taking all the sins ever committed by man upon Himself so we would not have to pay for our sins in hell for ourselves. The belief must include that Jesus rose again 3 days after He died conquering sin and death. (Romans 10:9) Salvation also includes repentance (Mark 1:14,15), which is turning in your heart from sin that you love as an unbeliever to belief in Jesus Christ and changing your life and be obedient to God’s instructions in the Bible.

In our heart of hearts we can sense our need and the dissatisfaction there is because sin reigns in our lives. God wants fellowship with you, but there has to be a choice made on your part to love and believe on Him. It is simple to really have Christ as your own personal Savior. Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
When you call on God it does not mean your circumstances will completely disappear, it means that you have peace with God that now your sins are forgiven, you can feel a sense of completeness. Then it is your responsibility to begin to learn from the Bible how God wants you to live your life.

If you have made the decision to trust Christ, then salvation does not leave you because you are going through a depression. God holds His children in His hand and nothing can pluck them out (John 10:28).

10. Sin is not always the reason for depression, but sometimes it is. Some people say, “God is silent to you because you are in sin…” I do not know your heart so I cannot say whether you are living in sin or not. If you are unsaved then you are living in sin (Ezekiel 18:20), if you are saved then your personal choices determine whether you are in sin or not (Romans 6:6). The consequences of sinful choices can cause problems in our lives that bring about a depression. Other times our reaction to circumstances cause depression. Finally, other times it is medical. I believe that most depression is a physical and emotional sign of a spiritual problem. You can simply ask God to show you if you have sin in your heart and life, when and if He reveals it, then it is time to confess it and make your heart right before Him.  Psalm 139:23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. God also uses silence sometimes as a test of our faith and obedience.

The Conclusion is: Cry Out To God!! The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 God is there, please allow the words from the Bible to speak the truth to you so that you do not slip from depression into a self-hatred or a suicide attempt. Lies will defeat you, but the truth will set you free!

John the Baptist: Discouraged and Doubting Pt. 2

John the Baptist was going through personal difficulties after his active ministry was put to an abrupt stop when he confronted Herod about his infidelity. Herod in turn arrested John. There is no proof of what type of imprisonment he suffered, whether it was house arrest or in a dungeon, but we do know that he was isolated in a place where he could not longer view the works of Christ.

While John the Baptist was isolated, his disciples came to visit, and they were not able to do anything to be able to help his discouragement and doubt. He asked two of his disciples to go on a mission to ask Christ a specific question: “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?”

In the last article we discussed Part 1 of Christ’s response to John the Baptist’s heavy question, which included them taking the good news of the works of He was doing outside John’s imprisonment. These answers can be found in Matthew 11.

The second part, includes a blessing with a condition.

John’s disciples also were dispatched to tell him, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.

Offended according to the Strong’s Concordance comes from the Greek word skandalizo.

Offended means:

  • to entrap
  • to trip up, or entice to sin
  • apostasy or displeasure
  • offend
  • The thought comes with it, “to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey.*

Jesus encouraged John not to distrust or desert Him.

Please do not allow yourself to be offended by how God is working outside of your situation. It is not about whether He loves you or not, because He does, it is about your choice not to become offended. Our difficulties in ministry and this life will come (Matthew 18:7), but Christ’s desire is that you do not become offended by them. Nothing should stand in our way to make us distrust or desert our Saviour.

Many of us are familiar with Paul’s writings and about the deserter, Demas, although it does not specifically say that he was offended in Christ, he left God’s work to follow after worldly desires. (Read about Demas in Colossians 4:14, Philemon 1:24, and 2 Timothy 4:10.) Our offenses, if not properly managed with Biblical answers, will lead us away from our ministry and calling to find earthly comfort apart from God’s will for our lives. Guard your heart to keep your heart from wandering.

Another Biblical example is in the story of the sower and the seed. One of the portions of ground was sown and this is said about it in Mark 4:16,17 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”

We do not want to have shallow roots enduring only until the persecutions and trials come into our lives, deserting God. Even though some pruning may happen in our lives we should strive to be the person whose heart is good fruitful ground.

THINK ABOUT THIS: Your present discouragement or doubt can be only as temporary as you will let it be. There is  joy when you are able to rejoice with those who rejoice. There is maturity when you can look beyond the bars of your jail cell and understand that hope really does exist beyond this situation and this life because we are blessed if we do not become offended. God allows us to choose fruitfulness.

John the Baptist’s end was going to be an unexpected death at the hands of wicked women, calling for him to be beheaded and his head to be brought before Herodias and her daughter. The Bible does not say what John the Baptist’s emotional status was before the beheading. I hope that as he received Christ’s personal message to him from his disciples, that he rallied with hope for eternity and for the souls of the people in the world who would believe and repent on Jesus.  I hope he made the choice not to become offended and chose the blessings of God.

Choosing not to be offended is not easy. It means it will take forgiveness. It means you will have to choose to be a blessing even when you may not feel like it. It means you may have to go the extra mile or strive to the peacemaker. It means you have the freedom to choose to love God, like Job, no matter what. It means you may have to overcome fears or walk away from hopeful expectations. It means that doors may be shut as you wait for the next one to open. It means you must be a living sacrifice, laying down yourself so you can receive God’s blessings.

Our God loves us more than we can imagine, but yet so often we forsake him like the disciples did that day of His crucifixion. We do not have to add to our own sorrow by adding offense to our situation. When you do not understand or you can see clearly the reason for your discouragement and doubt, love the Lord and desire to seek His face and know His presence. You will be all the better for it because God is fashioning you into the image of His Son.

Be confident in God’s workings in your life even if you cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel because, if you’re still here then God’s still performing His work in you.

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Philippians 1:6

 

*Olive Tree Bible Software KJV Strong’s